Welsh Football League Preview – STM Sports v Caldicot Town and a look at what action awaits across all three divisions
While the Welsh Cup takes centre stage this weekend in Welsh football there is still plenty of league action for those whose cup dream is over for another year. In South Wales there are 19 fixtures in the Welsh Football League across all three divisions and here’s a preview of what lies in wait.
Game of the Week
STM Sports v Caldicot Town (Division Two)
Division Two leaders Caldicot make the journey to the University Playing Fields in Llanrumney to take on fifth-placed STM Sports.
The Division Two calendar has been chock-a-block with matches pitting the leading teams against each in recent weeks and this is the latest mouth-watering contest for those keen to work out exactly who are the real contenders in a very open title race.
Defeat at Pontypridd Town last weekend saw Caldicot’s lead slashed to a single point and with Ponty in Welsh Cup action, this is an opportunity for Tony Wallis’ side to restore that buffer. Before that reverse at the USW Sports Park, Caldicot was unbeaten in 7 league matches and remain in good mick. However, with many of the sides below having games in hand does it represent a must-win game for the Monmouthshire-side?
STM Sports remain unbeaten in the league under Gareth Morgan and last week beat another high-flying outfit Pontardawe Town in a contest that wasn’t without controversy. Reports indicate STM may have been a bit fortunate with the penalty award that decided the game, but the result was overshadowed by a serious injury to STM match-winner Curtis Scotto, who was on the end of an alleged horror tackle.
A win for STM Sports could move them into the top 3 and would surely consolidate their status as favourites alongside Pontypridd Town.
Friday night offers two further matches of interest. Aberbargoed Buds (4th) make the short journey to Ystrad Mynach to play Risca United (8th) away at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence. Risca’s season has stalled a little in recent weeks after being among the front-runners early on, while the Buds have been going well this season and a win would keep them in touch with the sides at the top.
There will also be a Rhondda-Cynon Valleys clash under the lights at Aberaman Park where Aberdare Town (13th) welcome AFC Porth (16th). Both sides have struggled this season and are in need of points. Porth remains without a point of any sort this season, but they have battled well in recent games and the Black Dragons may eye this as an opportunity of sorts.
There is another local affair on Saturday when Pontardawe Town (3rd) host Garden Village (6th). Both sides will see this as an opportunity to remain in the mix at the top. It’s been a while since Garden Village has played a league game; Pontardawe has been hit by back to back defeats to Pontypridd Town and STM Sports and will surely be in need of a boost of morale.
Other fixtures: Dinas Powys (15th) v AFC Llwydcoed (11th), Llantwit Major (7th) v Abergavenny Town (9th), West End (14th) v Croesyceiliog (12th)
Due to the Welsh Cup, none of the top four is in action this weekend, it presents a chance for those below to close the gap.
Cambrian & Clydach Vale (5th) are at home to struggling Monmouth Town (13th) and Craig Hughes’ outfit will no doubt look to continue their improved home form this season. Monmouth has already won in the Rhondda (at Ton Pentre), which was one of only two wins this season in the league.
On Friday night the lights will be shining brightly at Rhiw Dda’r as Taffs Well (6th) welcome Afan Lido (7th). Both sides have gone under the radar somewhat this season, but both will be eyeing the chance to get a little bit closer to the sides above them.
Ton Pentre (15th) have moved off the foot of the table in recent weeks, but are still awaiting a first league win this season. Port Talbot (8th) make the journey over the hills to Ynys Park. Will their merry band of followers be in tow? Is this the weekend that Ton Pentre finally puts an end to a difficult run? They will probably have to keep Division One top scorer Luke Bowen quiet if they are to have any chance.
Other fixtures: Briton Ferry Llansawel (11th) v Undy Athletic (12th), Caerau Ely (16th) v Goytre United (9th)
Leaders Trefelin Boys and Girls Club are away to Chepstow Town (11th) and looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season. If they do slip up, can the chasing pack capitalise?
Swansea University (2nd) travel to the Cynon Valley to play Penrhiwceiber Rangers (12th), Bridgend Street (3rd) host Trethomas Bluebirds (7th) at The Willows and this season’s surprise package Tredegar Town (4th) will be trying to find some new momentum after a couple of defeats when they host Ynysygerwn (14th).
Bottom club Treowen Stars picked up their first league win of the season last weekend, can they make it two on the bounce when they travel to Pontyclun’s (8th) Ivor Park?
Other fixtures: Newport City (5th) v Ely Rangers (15th), Neuadd Wen (13th) v Treharris Athletic Western (9th)
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)